Beyond Gender: David Krakauer, ‘Sadie’s Gentlemen’s Club’, Hank Ballard and more

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By Mike Greenblatt

From France comes the exquisite Cocktail Mazel Tov (Blue Label/Table Pounding Records/L’Autre Distribution) by a native New Yorker/clarinetist/composer David Krakauer produced by South African keyboardist Kathleen Tag with Iranian drummer Martin Shamanpoor, longtime bassist for Sonny Rollins Jerome Harris, Canadian soul singer/rapper Sarah MK and – their secret weapon – Toshi Fruchter on oud and guitar. They take old dance forms like the polka, square dance and hora, but transform them with electro beats, Middle Eastern hand drums and deep funk grooves to achieve a satisfying, joyful and rewarding gumbo for the soul of enduring proportions.

Sadies 1

From Ireland come two volumes of Sadie’s Gentlemen’s Club (Atomicat Records), subtitled The House Of Sin: Hip-Shakers, Popcorn, Exotica, Rhythm & Blues and Rock’n’Roll. Characteristics of volume #1 (“Lover”) Ben E. King, Wynonie Harris, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Bullmoose Jackson, Hank Ballard & The Midnighters, Bobby Blue Bland, BB King, Etta James, Sarah Vaughan and 20 other lesser-known artists (the funniest are the hit wonders and the total unknowns). Volume #3 (“Taboo”) has Roy Hamilton, The Coasters, Steve Alaimo, The Four Seasons, Howlin’ Wolf, Roy Orbison, Darlene Love and Lucky Millinder with Sister Rosetta Tharpe plus 22 other little lights shining brightly on songs ranging from “Let’s Drink Some Whiskey” and “The Whipmaster” to “Slave Girl” and “Big Bad Beulah”.

Sadies 3

Hank Ballard

From Germany comes the newest in the bear family Rocks series, Hank Ballard Rocks. There’s never been another like the great Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame Hank Ballard! Born in 1927 in Detroit, died in 2003 in Los Angeleshe was the king of risque two-way R’n’B rockers, coining “The Twist” in the process (too bad his label released it as a B-side in 1958 for “Teardrops On Your Letter” where he C’ It’s amazing to hear her freakishly vital creations like “Work With Me, Annie” and its natural sequel “Annie Had A Baby” as well as “Annie’s Aunt Fannie”, and other deliciously delicious treats like “Switchie Witchie Titchie”, ” Finger Poppin’ Time”, “The Hoochie Coochie Coo”, and “Rock Granny Roll”. His songs have stood the test of time and still sound dangerous today. Lock up your girls when Hank comes to town!

jimmy carpenter

From the swamps of the Bayou in Cajun Country comes The Louisiana record (Gulf Coast Records) by saxophonist/vocalist jimmy carpenter. Mike, the guitar hero Zito’s label never releases a bad or just a good record. Zito’s MAN and everything that bears his name is awesome. Period. Carpenter lived in The Crescent City from 2004 to 2016. (He’s in Vegas now.) “There’s no doubt,” he says, “my time in New Orleans redefined me as a musician and changed me forever on so many levels.” Zito demanded authenticity, so Carpenter was airlifted Quayside studios on the Vermillion River just south of Lafayette with famed engineer David Farrell. Procuring a cast of professional catfish-eaters (including Zito on guitar), they released hotshot versions of Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Fats Domino, and covers of classics like “Barefootin'” , “I Got Loaded”, “Cry To Me”. ” and more.

Hooten Haller cover

Why should I American be seen as a panacea for bad country music? Sure, it’s an umbrella genre incorporating rock, blues, country, and folk…but The Hooten Hallers, these Missouri punks who refuse to give in to expectations, are there to shatter and burn preconceptions. Fifteen years later, they are back to business on their self-liberated spitting in the eye of convention. Props to Detroit Guest Bassist-Producer Dom Davis which adds jaw-dropping brutality. “Van Killer” was inspired by that terrible experience in Montana when their pickup truck rolled over during a blizzard. “Cat Scrap” sounds like its title. Kellie Everett gives this band her signature sound, with her constant barrage of sax and clarinet. But it’s John Randall’s voice that cuts through the bull-crap smog. In an age of pre-existing settings, there is no cure for a band like The Hooten Hallers. Either you love them or you leave the room.

Halles Hooten

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